News & Events
New Jersey Dioceses to Establish Victim Compensation and Counseling Program
November 19, 2018
NEWARK, N.J. – Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark, announced today that the Archdiocese of Newark and the Dioceses of Camden, Trenton, Paterson and Metuchen are committed to the establishment of a Victim Compensation and Counseling Program. The details and mechanics of this Program will be finalized after consultation with - and input from - all stakeholders, and will be released when they are available.
This Program will provide the resources to compensate those victims of child sexual abuse by clergy and employees of the Dioceses in New Jersey whose financial claims are legally barred by New Jersey's statute of limitations. This will give victims a formal voice and allow them to be heard by an independent panel. The Cardinal said that the Program also will assure that victims who have not received any financial compensation will be paid, regardless of whether their claims meet the time requirements of the statute of limitations. This initiative will expand on the current arrangement through which the Catholic Church in New Jersey already has provided some fifty million dollars in financial settlements to victims of abuse. The vast majority of these claims had been barred by the statute of limitations.
The Program also will be a resource to provide permanent funding for necessary counseling to those who have been victimized. Such counseling so often is needed to help in the healing of those who have been harmed.
Cardinal Tobin also announced that the Roman Catholic Dioceses in New Jersey will undertake a complete review of their files so that, early next year, the names of all priests and deacons who have been credibly accused of the sexual abuse of minors will be made public. The Dioceses will undertake this action in coordination with the Attorney General of New Jersey’s ongoing Task Force examining the issue of clergy sexual abuse. It is hoped that these steps will aid in the process of healing for victims, who are deserving of our support and prayers.
Statement of the Diocese of Metuchen regarding announcement on New Jersey Dioceses’ establishment of Victim Compensation and Counseling Program
The Diocese of Metuchen is grateful to Cardinal Tobin for his leadership in expressing our shared commitment to create a victim compensation and counseling program in New Jersey. Funds for this program in the Diocese of Metuchen will come from self-funded insurance reserves.
The introduction of this statewide reparation program, in fact, would formalize what the Diocese of Metuchen has been doing consistently since 2002.
In 2002, the Diocese of Metuchen underwent a thorough audit of all the files of the priests of the diocese. It was conducted by an outside law firm and our diocesan chancellor. The Diocese turned over to law enforcement every alleged case of sexual abuse of minors and adult misconduct we had at that time since the founding of our diocese which was 1981. The diocese even made available the complete files for the prosecutors. Since that time, it has been our practice that the Diocese of Metuchen has turned over to the county prosecutor’s office every single reported claim of sexual abuse of minors or adult misconduct.
Recently, the diocese engaged an independent firm to conduct another thorough review of our files to confirm what we have done. Very soon, we will publish the names of all clerics in our diocese who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse.
Since our founding in 1981, the Diocese of Metuchen has paid $1.5 million to victims and was among the first to begin settling claims brought forth; this includes claims regardless of whether or not they exceeded the state’s established statute of limitations. We offer and provide counseling to victims. We directly apologize to victims. Our diocesan review board which consists of a majority of lay people reviews every claim, and includes a past victim of clergy sex abuse. It remains a priority for the Diocese of Metuchen to continue our efforts to aid victims in the process of seeking justice and healing.